It’s easy to take a safe, secure and healthy living environment for granted. Most people grow up without having to worry about these seemingly simple requirements. They are just there, provided by an invisible network of parents and family, friends and co-workers. It is a part of the social contract. Yet for a small, but growing percentage of people, cracks in the network are showing. The contract is showing its age.
The global economy is unpredictable. Jobs are shipped overseas. Unemployment keeps on going up. Prices on basic needs like food and water, shelter and utilities are rising. Many people who are lucky enough to have a job live paycheck to paycheck, unable to save anything for a rainy day. Those that don’t live hand to mouth and often depend on the government for any of the following Social Security programs:
- Federal Old-Age (Retirement), Survivors, and Disability Insurance
- Unemployment benefits
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Health Insurance for Aged and Disabled (Medicare)
- Grants to States for Medical Assistance Programs (Medicaid)
- State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
What happens when you wake up in the hospital after having been struck down by a sudden illness, hit by a car, or worse debilitated by a disease you had no idea ran in your family? Do you have a healthy savings account? Family to care for you? Medical insurance? Or are you a part of the growing number of Americans who walk around without a safety net? Assisted living, skilled nursing, and board and care facilities can be outrageously expensive. What is the alternative in today’s downturn economy? Overcrowded living conditions in vermin-infested residential housing? Is that the American dream or the American nightmare?
Tara is an example of a humble and selfless mother of four who has seen more than her share of doctors offices. Recently having undergone a hip replacement surgery and scheduled to undergo a replacement on the other hip as well as both knees in the coming year, she found herself living in a house teeming with both tenants and vermin. Overcrowded with individuals on fixed-low incomes as well as infested with rodents, cockroaches and toxic black mold, Tara realized that it was time for a change.
Within a few hours of informing her UC Davis Medical center orthopedist of her living situation Helping Hearts Foundation had gotten in contact with her and was on their way out to her place of residence. The photos below represent how they found her and–after explaining the Helping Hearts Foundation system to her (she agreed to relocate the following day)–providing her with a tour of the house she moved into.
Perhaps the phrase what a difference a day makes has never rung so true.